DELAND, Fla. – Attorneys say a dramatic video shows a teacher at DeLand Middle School breaking up a fight between 15-year-old Jayquan Hightower and another student.
They say the teacher puts the teenager in a chokehold to stop the fight. Hightower says he felt panicked.
“I just thought I was going to pass out,” he said.
Lawyers say a different video shows 17-year-old DeLand High School student Kaniya Smiley getting choked by a school employee during a fight. Smiley says she still can’t believe it. “Looking back on it, it’s like wow that happened to me. That’s how I feel about it,” she said.
Lawyer Rawsi Williams says it’s inexcusable, and they’re suing the district. “At this point, we’re demanding that these schools and educators be held accountable.”
The local chapter of the NAACP says they’re supporting the students. Dr. Ursula Scott from the West Volusia NAACP says school staff needs a refresher on their protocols.
“We don’t have enough professional individuals who remember the training we received when it comes to deescalation, appropriate discipline when it comes to positive reinforcement. We’re seeing a lot of ‘I’m gonna take matters into my own hands.'”
FOX35 reached out to the school district for their response. They say they can’t comment on any pending litigation.
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